My dad is extraordinary.
Yep, there is only one Carl Lafayette Meyer and; therefore, there is only one Carla Lafaye Meyer Holtz. What in the world were my parents thinking to shorten his middle name and make it mine!
Back in February of 1936, my dad was born. To hear him tell it each February, many great men including presidents were born in that month. However, to me and our family as well as many friends, his importance in our lives far outweighs the influence of any president.
At 82 years young, Dad is still very active in his church and offers to lend a hand anytime anyone has a need. While those half his age might be hitting the couch, he is looking for things to do. He enjoys gardening and riding his tractor as well as playing pickleball at least twice a week. And, let me tell you that he is a salty pickeball player for sure!
However, his greatest joy comes from spending time with family and friends and engaging in conversations that generally involve him telling a joke or two. You see, Dad is known for his jokes. In fact, he has told them so often throughout the years that we have mentioned to him that we have numbered them so instead of him having to tell the whole thing, we call out a number and all start laughing.
At the very heart of my dad is God, and everything else in his life radiates from that center.
He will tell you that his greatest accomplishment is his family and that he cherishes the relationship he has with each of us. Also, he loves his country and stands for what is right and is against anyone who would threaten the freedom on which our Nation was founded.
Dad has a way of making people feel special because he has such JOY on his face when he sees you. It is like he has been looking forward to seeing you all day long. Most of the time, he will greet you with a “hello, Pilgrim.”
With him, there are no short goodbyes because there is always another story or another joke to tell to bring laughter, smiles or a word of encouragement. And, his smile warms a room long after he is gone.
You know there is something to be said for repetition. In my 55 years, I have heard his jokes and poems and limericks so often, that I find myself sharing them and giving him the credit. I truly am amazed at his memory at 82, but also at his words that are ingrained in me.
One thing for sure is that Dad is consistent. His actions match his words and he puts his money where his mouth is. If he says he will do something then you can bank on it without any hesitation. That is right. He has good old-fashioned values and integrity.
You would think that someone who is so optimistic and pleasant must have had some kind of advantage as a kid. However, after losing his mother when he was nine, Dad lived with several different people until his high school graduation. I am thankful for an elementary teacher he had who took him in for a season and wish I knew how to reach her family to thank them for her investment in him. Also, he stayed with his extended family and forged great bonds with them.
Dad was and still is a hard worker. My three sisters and I definitely picked up on his work ethic. When he had his own heating and air-conditioning business, it was hard to keep employees because the young guys did not want to work that hard.
When it was lunchtime on the job, Dad would turn over a 5-gallon bucket and proceed to eat the lunch he brought. Generally, this was no longer than a 15 minute break and most likely 5 minutes. The man practically ran from place to place. He often quoted and still quotes John Wayne in saying, “Pilgrim, we are burning daylight.”
One of my favorite things about my dad is the way he loves and appreciates my mom. Even though he is quite the jokester, she has never taken the brunt of his jokes, but instead has served as the straight man who continues to smile each time he repeats one to a new person.
Dad is a character who has great character.
His name carries weight in the town where he lives and most everyone who knows him has a story to tell about how he has helped them out or made them laugh. Once when I was younger and needed to talk to a store owner in the town where he lives, I told my mom that I was going to drop my dad’s name. She looked at me and said, “Well, that is your name, too.” Oh, the value of a good name!
If you need him, he will be there. If you want to see Jesus with skin on serving others, he is your man. If you want to laugh or share a good story, he is the one to call for sure. And, if you want to see pictures of the grandkids then you better have time to spare.
In Proverbs 22:1 it says, “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” Another version reads, “Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold.”
I am so thankful for the privilege of calling Carl Lafayette Meyer my dad even though he tagged me with that middle name!
Proverbs 17:22, “A cheerful heart is good medicine.”
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